Jump Rock - April 28, 2019

submitted by Jeff Monroe

Several separate groups of hikers converged on the Goshen swinging bridge's parking area on Sunday, April 28th to hike the Jump Mountain Loop.  Included in the hike roster were the Charlottesville car - Marion, Ann, Jocelyn, and hike leader Jeff, the Afton car, including Mike Hammer, Nancy, and Barbara, and the Harrisonburg car, driven by Lyn.  At Goshen, the group met another group from Lynchburg's Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club.  Because the Afton car was still in Lexington when the rest of the groups were at the trailhead, many of the NBATC hikers took off early and met the later group closer to the top of the mountain.

The Jump Rock loop is a hike with just about everything packed into a 9.1 mile journey.  The hike starts out with a somewhat scary bridge crossing, then a river walk, then ascends steeply while passing a small waterfall.

After leveling out on a ridge, the hike resumed a steep ascent before coming out at the first of three overlooks.  Both groups checked this out before going to lunch at the main event, the view from Jump Rock.  From the summit of Jump Rock, the group could see many, many spots that the Charlottesville Chapter has hiked before, including Shenandoah National Park, Ramsey's Draft Wilderness, Elliott's Knob, St. Mary's Wilderness, The Priest Wilderness, Three Ridges Wilderness, James River Face Wilderness, Whetstone Ridge, and Cole Mountain.  Although it was a little hazy, the view never fails to disappoint!

After lunch, the groups continued on the loop, scratching their way over some trail made harder to cross and to follow by downed trees before reaching the third viewpoint, Viewing Rock.  Views were clearer on this side of the mountain, and our vista looking west was also spectacular!  The group stopped and took a group photo, as did those members of the NBATC who hiked with us.

The hike was 9.1 miles with a total ascent of 2582 feet, and took the group just over 6 hours total.

Lower Shamokin Falls to Upper Shamokin Falls - Wintergreen Trails - April 27, 2019

Fifteen folks met up at the Old Stoney Creek Road trailhead on a crisp, breezy, but sunny spring Saturday, April 27.  The route for the day was to hike to the Lower Shamokin Falls and then take the steep jeep road up to the Upper Shamokin Falls, all part of the Wintergreen Nature Foundation trail system. Hike leader, Marit Anderson, was joined by the following hikers: Karem Cosar, Tom Millner, Ivan Via, David Consolvo, Jocelyn Prostko, Nancy Kern and Aiko (her pup), Barbara Martin, Len Denicola, Cheri Acker, Marie Moss, John Brandt, Betty Joyce Nash, Claire Cline and Nancy Handley. We meandered up the fire road along Stoney Creek to the trail leading to the Lower Falls.  The stream crossings were not bad, although Marit had experienced much worse on her pre-hike 10 days earlier. At the lower falls we had a quick snack and then regrouped to make the steep ascent.  We had some pretty views along the way of Nelson County and numerous wildflower sightings, many pointed out by our wildflower expert, Claire Cline.  Some of these included Golden Alexander, Wild Phlox, Wild Geranium, Jack -in-the Pulpit, Pinks, and more. At the top of  climb we branched to the left as advised by Nancy Kern on the Morgan's Loop to take the circuitous route of the Upper Shamokin Falls - enjoying it from all sides.  Lunch was next to the falls followed by dessert of chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate.  The water was flowing fully, providing a beautiful backdrop to our meal. From there we reconnected to our earlier trail and made it back down the side of Crawford Knob with a part of the group making a sighting of morel mushrooms.  We arrived at our cars around 1:45 pm, some folks departing for home and others to some breweries and cidery. Our mileage for the day was 6.5-7 miles (depending on the different GPS devices) and a 1600 ft. ascent. Could not think of a nicer thing to do on a fabulous spring day!

Submitted by Marit Anderson


Petites Gap to James River on the AT - April 20, 2019

submitted by Barbara Martin

Thirteen hikers in two groups, one lead by Barbara Martin and the other by Michael Seth, enjoyed a beautiful hike from Petites Gap to the James River on April.  There had been warnings of rain, high winds and lower temperatures, but the hikers were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather the whole way. We had a short climb to Highcock Knob, enjoying a multitude of wildflowers.  But it wasn't just wildflowers. We saw incredible views then walked along a lovely stream with more wildflowers, coming out along the James River and crossing the famous James Footbridge to end our hike. Thank you to Susanna Williams, Brooks Fulton, Margaret Helber, Pam Heinrich, Lynn Hatch, Sharon Celsor-Hughes, John Brandt, Nancy Handley, Marian Stiles, Peggy B and  Penet Moss for making this hike memorable. Hats off to Michael Seth for assisting as second hike leader.

Massanutten Roaring Run - April 13, 2019

submitted by Michael Seth

Jeff Monroe, Mike Hammer, Barbara Martin, Nancy Handley, Iva Gillet, Peggy Byrd, Marian Styles and Mike Smith met hike leader Michael Seth at the Food Lion in Elkton at 10 am.  There were accompanied by two canines. The hike was supposed to be Crisman Hollow-Duncan Knob but a prescribed burn on Wednesday closed Crisman Hollow Road necessitating a last minute change to Roaring Run.  It was a nine mile hike. Four miles and 1800’ up the Roaring Run Trail, then five miles easy gradual downhill along the Massanutten Trail and Big Mountain Road.

In three cars we took the 20 minute drive to Catherine Furnace.  The three Mikes in the lead car, two with Iva and two with Jeff. Iva was the last car, then disappeared and miraculous appeared ahead of everyone (she took a shortcut). The weather was better than the forecast, with sunny skies in the morning and mostly cloudy in the afternoon, temperatures in the lower seventies.

After several people read the historical marker and admired the civil war era iron furnace we began our hike following the purple blazed Roaring Run Trail.  We had one challenging stream crossing at the beginning. There was no consensus as to the best place to cross but everyone somehow managed to make it with dry feet.  The trail was a bit muddy at first but as we ascended became drier. We were treated to some views to the east. We had lunch at the top. Mike Smith was busy identifying birds-pine warblers, a titmouse, while the others were eating and chatting. Everyone received a bag of nuts & M & Ms as an award for making it to the top.

After lunch it was almost all downhill. We walked along the Massanutten Trail which is just runs along a forest road, only the orange blazes suggest that it is a trail. The two dogs briefly became excited when a deer ran across.   Then we returned to our cars vis Big Mountain Road that runs along the cascading Cub Run. We found two copperheads in the road-both dead. Along the way we saw hepaticas, spring-beauties, yellow corydalis, star chickweed, common and bicolor birdsfoot violets, pussytoes, pennycrest, speedwells, rock cress, and a vast forest of horsetails.  Mike Hammer, Mike Seth, Marian, Iva, and Peggy briefly stopped at a shale barren noted for fossils. Marian seemed excited about finding one but after five minutes of turning over stones and not finding even a dinosaur footprint, she and the others gave up. Jeff and Barbara arrived at the cars first, followed by the failed fossil hunters and then Nancy and Mike Smith.


PATC Members and Volunteers - Helping in SNP and the Blue Ridge Parkway

The first ice storm occurred on November 14, shearing off tree tops and toppling hundreds, if not thousands of trees on the Blue Ridge Parkway/Jefferson National Forest and the Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park.  Shortly after, the federal government shutdown closed Shenandoah National Park for 6 weeks.  Then additional natural events, including the ice storm of  February 10, exacerbated the amount of debris littering the trails and roadways.  Park personnel have been working diligently to tackle the 900+ trees downed from Swift Run Gap to Rockfish Gap.  Private contractors and additional help from George Washington Parkway crews have worked for weeks and months to haul away branches and trees, and to remove broken limbs in the canopies.  And volunteers have put in countless hours to do their part - swamping branches, trees, and blow downs along the Appalachian Trail and the hundreds of side trails.  We thank all of the SNP and NFS personnel, private contractors, and the volunteers, many who are PATC trail overseers and members from the Charlottesville Chapter, Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter, and beyond. To name a few of those volunteers that we are aware of: Jean Enzbrenner, Gary Flynn, Brooks Fulton, Margaret Helber, Jim Fye, Jeff Monroe, Lindsay Brown, Marit Anderson, Mark Perschel, Bill Holman, Mark Walkup, John Stacy, Barry Buschow, Stephanie Danahy, Lynn and Malcom Cameron, Lori Silvestri, Jean Stephens, Tom Engle, Don Blume, Richard Hottel, J. and B. Todd. It has been a long hard winter, but slowly the trails are improving. We hope the SNP southern section will be open soon!

The crew that cleaned up Wildcat Ridge Trail

Clearing the section from Blackrock Hut Parking Area on the AT to the Blacwater Hut Access Trail

Working with the Blue and White Trail Crew with crosscut saws on the Turk Mt. Summit Trail

Joining forces with the Southern Shenandoah Valley Chapter to remove debris from Pinefield Gap to Ivy Creek Overlook

Mark and Marit just got their SNP chainsaw certification, so they can now help saw in the park.  Yay!
submitted by Marit Anderson